Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Classic Rant: are RPGs "just a game"?
Someone has pointed it out on an RPGsite thread, that one of most annoying things around are when someone in a debate about RPGs, in a forum about RPGs, goes around saying (sarcastically) that RPGs are "serious business" or in other words that "it's all just a game".
Now, I go out of my way very often to remind the Swine that the RPG is a GAME, not a story-telling device or an excuse to act pretentious or a vehicle to express your disgust at being constantly forced to obey social norms. But that doesn't mean that it's "just" a game. There's no 'just' about it; and that's where the Swine always fail: they always unconsciously put that "just" in front of the term, feeling like if all they were doing was the game itself it would somehow be inappropriate use of their time. They have to make it MORE than a game; except when they're losing an argument, and then they try to make it "JUST" a game to try to shut down all possibility of someone pointing out what asses they're making of themselves.
Here was my response in the thread:
"I mean seriously, either shit or get off the pot. If you're on THIS forum (or any other forum dedicated to RPGs) you clearly do not feel that RPGs are "just a game", and you're just using one of the lamest tactics ever as a pathetic attempt to shut down debate that you don't feel you have the intellectual or moral backbone to defend your position on. It's bullshit.
Obviously, every one of us here feels that RPGs are "serious business" as a game, as a hobby, as a pass-time or a creative endeavor. That doesn't mean that we should treat them as motherfucking High Art or as some kind of pseudo-intellectual academic study, but that we should be willing to go all-in on actually standing up for our vision of what RPGs are, and take them seriously within that context. To say that RPGs are a serious thing does not mean that you have to go the Swine route; on the contrary, it's usually those who are utter failures at grokking the concept of RPGs for what they really are that rally around these movements to try to bring utterly unnecessary pretentiousness to the hobby, and then (when they are losing an argument) very quickly turn around and pull the "It's Just A Game" card when they want to try to silence the victorious opposition.
On the other end of clearly circular spectrum are the would-be Hipsters who think that by trying to say "It's Just A Game" they're showing off some kind of faux-"Cool" at investing years of their lives into the hobby but not actually being willing to engage with that in a serious way. Seriously, motherfucker?! The guys who have put in time to the hobby but DON'T act like they're ashamed of it are the losers? Seriously?!
Man up, bucky. Buy the ticket, take the ride."
(originally posted July 13, 2010)